Essential guide to ingredients to avoid in baby products
  • Baby & pregnancy
  • Clean beauty

Essential guide to ingredients to avoid in baby products

This guide explains which chemical ingredients you should avoid that are common in many high street products for babies and children, and the reasons why you should avoid using these ingredients on your baby or child's delicate skin.

By Alexandra Julian

7 Minute read

This guide explains which chemical ingredients you should avoid that are common in many high street products for babies and children, and the reasons why you should avoid using these ingredients on your baby or child's delicate skin.

Organic Babies and Organic Children are truly natural and organic ranges which do not contain any of the ingredients listed here.

Why look at ingredients in baby products

It is known that some substances, when applied to the skin, may be absorbed and enter the bloodstream.

Research has shown that, depending on the nature and properties of the chemical, as much as 60% of what is applied to the skin may be absorbed.

Skin care products need only 1% natural ingredients to be called 'natural'

In spite of this, many high street babies and children products contain a very high number of chemicals which can irritate your child's delicate skin and cause allergic reactions.

Even ‘so-called’ natural skin care ranges could be harmful to your baby or child. Skin care products need only 1% natural ingredients to be called 'natural', meaning that some may contain a mix of man-made chemicals and water to make up the remaining 99%.

As rates of eczema and allergies among children continue to rise many have pointed to the early introduction of 'toxic toiletries' as a major factor.


Artificial preservatives are one of the main causes of irritation and allergic reactions. Some are also known to release small amounts of formaldehyde which is an irritant, a carcinogen and neurotoxin. The following ingredients contain formaldehyde, may release formaldehyde or may break down into formaldehyde:

  • 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15

Other preservatives that can cause an allergic reaction and irritation are:

  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Parabens (butyl, ethyl, methyl, propyl, isobutyl)


Many cosmetics contain DEA or TEA. Neither is carcinogenic on its own, but if the product contains nitrites (which are not always disclosed on labels) it can cause a chemical reaction, leading to the formation of nitrosamines which are carcinogenic.

Other chemicals that pose similar hazards to nitrosamine formation are:

  • 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1, 3-diol (Bronopol)
  • Padimate-O (found in sun screens)
  • 1,4-Dioxane

Foaming and emulsifying agents

One of the most common foaming agents in shampoos, shower gels, bubble baths and even toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). SLS is a known skin irritant and should be avoided - especially on young sensitive skin.

Gentle foaming agents - no SLS!

Green People only use gentle foaming agents derived from corn or coconut such as decyl glucoside, cocamidopropyl betaine and coco glucoside.

The emulsifying agents are naturally plant derived from Olive, Palm and Corn and include: cetearyl glucoside, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol. These are safe during pregnancy and for babies.

All fatty alcohols used in our products are components of natural plant waxes and should not be confused with ethanol/ethyl alcohol which can cause dryness and irritation and increase permeability of the skin, enabling unwanted impurities to be absorbed.


Dimethicone in baby products

Dimethicone can often be found in baby products such as balms, lotions and sun cream. It performs a barrier function which may be intended to stop moisture from escaping the skin or to make a sun cream waterproof.

Whilst it is good at performing this function, there are other safe, natural ingredients that can act as a barrier but also have a host of other beneficial actions.

For example, Organic Babies creates dimethicone-free baby products which contain soothing plant oils and waxes to help repair and protect the skin.

Artificial perfumes

Fragrances are another of the two leading causes of allergy and irritation. If you see the word 'parfum' in the ingredient listing you could risk a hidden multitude of synthetic chemicals. 95% of the mix in most perfumes is made from synthetic chemicals!

Scents made with natural ingredients can also cause skin irritation; however you are less likely to suffer allergic reactions if you use one essential oil or a blend of a few oils, than if you use synthetic fragrances

Perfume-free products

Most of our Organic Babies range and Organic Children's products contain natural essential oils such as Lavender and Chamomile, although we do also have some which do not have any essential oils at all.

organic baby products

For example, our Scent Free Baby Lotion and our Organic Children's Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 are both fragrance-free for those children with very sensitive skin. See all scent-free baby products.

We also have a Sensitive range, which is a selection of scent-free skin and hair care products for all the family including shampoo, body lotion and deodorant. See full Sensitive range.

Artificial colourants

It is wise to avoid synthetic colours. They are only used to make the products look appealing to the consumer and can cause allergic skin reactions; some even contain heavy metals and are carcinogenic.

All colours, whether natural or synthetic, are listed as ingredients in cosmetics by their Colour Index (CI) Number.

Each number is unique to a specific colourant material and is shown by the letters CI followed by a 5 digit number, such as CI 75810.

Naturally derived colours from plants and mineral sources will have numbers greater than CI 75000 and as a general rule, to avoid synthetic colours in cosmetics you should not use any product with a CI number of less than CI 75000.

Organic Babies and Organic Children's products do not contain any synthetic colourants and are not only gentle and safe to use, but also leave skin feeling wonderfully soft and nourished.

Welcome to the Organic Babies range


Have you got a question about the ingredients we use? We are very careful about the ingredients that go into our organic baby and children’s products, and select only those that we have absolute confidence in.

We are always happy to help so if you have any questions, please call us on 01403 740350.

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